Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

google is your butler- the tension between utility and privacy

Filed under
Google

I’ve often defended Google’s thirst to know things about people with a butler analogy. Good software should, like a butler, try hard to understand your preferences and act on them for you without you even realizing they are there. That means learning and remembering things you’ve done in the past, and using that to base recommendations on.

Like a butler, you want your tools to work intelligently based on context and history, and Google is without doubt one of those tools- for many of us, the most important single tool in our computing lives. The problem, of course, is that your butler has a lot of incentives to keep your private information private.

Google’s incentives run at least partially the other way- they have strong incentives to mine that data extensively, to share it with others, and to collect well more than most people might think is useful, in the name of being the ultimate butler. And these incentives lead to risks- incentives to share with third parties that you might not trust; risks that things might be subpoenaed; risks that they might leak to Google employees or even outside Google; risks that effective advertising might use such information to manipulate your political views. On balance, most of us are going to look at these issues and decide that we’re OK with Google knowing these things, because the risks are remote and the benefits tangible. So we acknowledge there is a tension between privacy and functionality, and move on.

Rest Here




More in Tux Machines

SteamOS A Linux Distribution For Gaming


Picture

SteamOS is a Debian Linux kernel-based operating system in development by Valve Corporation designed to be the primary operating system for the Steam Machine game consoles. It was initially released on December 13, 2013, alongside the start of end-user beta testing of Steam Machines.
 

Read At LinuxAndUbuntu

KDE Applications 14.12.3 Officially Released

KDE Applications 14.12 has been released by its makers, and it’s a regular maintenance update. It comes with a ton of bug fixes and will be soon available in various repositories. Read more

Understanding The Linux Kernel's BPF In-Kernel Virtual Machine

BPF continues marching forward as a universal, in-kernel virtual machine for the Linux kernel. The Berkeley Packet Filter was originally designed for network packet filtering but has since been extended as eBPF to support other non-network subsystems via the bpf syscall. Here's some more details on this in-kernel virtual machine. Alexei Starovoitov presented at last month's Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit in Santa Rosa about BPF as an in-kernel virtual machine. The slides have been published for those wishing to learn more about its state and capabilities. Read more

Calligra 2.9.0 is Out

Packages for the release of KDE's document suite Calligra 2.9 are available for Kubuntu 14.10. You can get it from the Kubuntu Backports PPA. They are also in our development version Vivid. Read more